Last night a full lunar eclipse occurred, just hours before todayâ€™s Winter Solstice. Many people around the world used this auspicious time for ritual, spell work, divination, meditation, and much more.
I was one of them. I made a list of goals and wishes for the new year and focused my intentions with the powerful eclipse and the rebirth of the Sun in the Northern Hemisphere. I surrendered to my beloved dead a list of questions, asking them for greater insight from the other side. I meditated on peace and compassion for our planet. And I did a once-a-year divination using the I Ching.
True, there arenâ€™t many witches who use the I Ching. Most use tarot or runes. But the first divinatory system I learned was divination with crystals, and the method I use is only good for giving readings to others. The second divinatory system I learned, in college, was the I Ching. This is still my favorite method because it takes a lot of the guesswork and ambiguity out of divination. You count out and lay down 49 sticks (with the 50th set aside for Spirit) in a prescribed way, over and over; these numbers lead to the calculation of lines, and the lines build upon each other to form a hexagram â€“ six lines, some of which are open (receptive) and some of which are solid (creative). Then you look up which hexagram it is, and read the meaning from a book.
The I Ching, or Book of Changes, has been passed down for centuries. You donâ€™t need to second guess yourself as in a tarot reading (where one card or symbol could mean a plethora of things and you need to figure it out by context or by intuition), because the meanings and interpretations are right there in the book. All you need to do is open it, read it, and meditate on the meaning for your own life.
I just wanted to share a part of the commentary on the meaning of the hexagram I got last night, number 15, or Modesty. This is excerpted from the Wilhelm/Baynes I Ching book:
It is the law of heaven to make fullness empty and to make full what is modest; when the sun is at its zenith, it must, according to the law of heaven, turn toward its setting, and at its nadir it rises toward a new dawn. In obedience to the same law, the moon when it is full begins to wane, and when empty of light it waxes again.
What better time to read these lines than as the moon goes from full to waning to darkened to waxing to full again, all within the space of a few hours! What better time to reflect on the cyclical nature of light and dark than at the Winter Solstice, when the Sun has reached its lowest point and must therefore now begin to wax! Â The commentary goes on to apply this law to nature and to individuals, to remind us that when weâ€™re on top, we must be modest, and when weâ€™re modestly scraping bottom, nature will eventually fill that void for us and change our situation. And that is what witches recognize at the solstice â€“ that just as the light returns, we can build up what we want for the next year, set out our intentions to grow with the waxing sun. The cycle is dynamic and never-ending, there is no such thing as stasis or inertia.
This is just one example of how uncannily accurate the I Ching can be. If youâ€™re interested in just the basics of I Ching, check out I Ching for Beginners by Tarot expert Mark McElroy.
Did you have any shining insights, glowing synchronicities, powerful visions or insightful meditations last night? Please share with us in the comments. Have a Blessed Winter Solstice!